December 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 1 December 2011
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Expected Council Action 
In December, the Council is scheduled to receive a biannual briefing from the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno Ocampo, on the court’s work in Sudan. The Prosecutor is expected to deliver his report in a public meeting of the Council, followed by a private meeting. A briefing by the chair of the Sudan Sanctions Committee in consultations is also likely.

It is also possible that the wider political and security challenges in Darfur (and their relationship to events unfolding in other parts of Sudan) may be discussed as well.

Key Recent Developments
Ocampo last briefed the Council on the work of the ICC in Sudan on 8 June. During that briefing, he noted that crimes against humanity and genocide had continued unabated in Darfur, citing attacks on the Fur, Massalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups. He added that the current governor of Southern Kordofan, Ahmad Harun, who has been indicted by the ICC, was a good example of the consequences of ignoring information about serious crimes, saying that in the 1990s Harun used local militia to attack civilians in the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan and used the same tactics between 2003 and 2005 in Darfur.

On 14 and 15 October, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visited Malawi for a summit of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.   Although a State Party to the Rome Statute of the ICC, Malawi refused to apprehend Bashir, who has been indicted by the court for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur. After the visit, in response to an ICC request that Malawi explain its rationale for not arresting Bashir, Malawi submitted a statement in which it indicated that it could not do so because it is a member of the AU, which has passed a resolution prohibiting the arrest of sitting heads of state from countries, such as Sudan, that have not acceded to the Rome Statute.  (Given the binding nature of resolution 1593, through which the council referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC, adherence to the AU’s resolution in this instance contradicts Article 103 of the UN Charter, which states that member states’ obligations to the Charter should override commitments to other international agreements. It should also be noted that in recent years, other states that are party to the Rome Statute, including Chad, Djibouti and Kenya, have failed to arrest Bashir when he was in their territory.)

The High Court of Kenya issued an arrest warrant for Bashir on 28 November in accordance with the ICC indictment. In response, the Sudanese government demanded that the Kenyan ambassador depart Sudan within 72 hours. Moses Wetangula, Kenya’s Foreign Minister, has expressed the Kenyan government’s intention to appeal the decision.

The chair of the Sudan Sanctions Committee, which focuses on Darfur, last briefed the Council on 29 September. Concerns appear to have been raised during the meeting about the flow of arms and the continued fighting in the region. Since the beginning of October, new appointments have been made to all five positions in the Committee’s panel of experts.     

In October and November, there were two separate deadly attacks on personnel of the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). On 10 October, two Rwandan soldiers and a Senegalese police advisor were killed and five Rwandan troops and one Gambian soldier were wounded when they were ambushed by an unidentified group while patrolling near a camp for internally displaced persons near El Fasher in north Darfur. On 6 November, one Sierra Leonean peacekeeper was killed and one Sierra Leonean peacekeeper was wounded when they were attacked while on patrol near Nyala in south Darfur.

Between 30 October and 6 November, Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, visited Sudan and South Sudan, making stops in Khartoum, Darfur, Abyei and Juba. Ladsous’s visit to UNAMID was his first to a UN peacekeeping mission as the head of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. During his trip to Darfur, he spoke with several local officials, civil society representatives and UNAMID staff, emphasising that the peace process in Darfur should be inclusive and be led by Darfurians.

On 11 November, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid (SLA-AW), the Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minnawi (SLA-MM) and the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) formed a military and political alliance called the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF). The primary aim of the SRF is to overthrow the government in Khartoum, according to a joint communiqué issued by the SRF on 11 November.

On 15 and 16 November, the United States Institute of Peace hosted a conference in Washington, DC, to strategise on the way forward for the peace process in Darfur. Representatives of JEM, SLA-MM, and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) participated. (The LJM is the only one among these groups to sign the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur [DDPD], which provides a framework for the peace process in Darfur.) Other participants included US government officials and members of Darfuri civil society.  Although invited, the government of Sudan declined to participate in the conference. 

Key Issues
An ongoing key issue is the how the Council’s unwillingness to act on requests by the ICC Prosecutor to take measures against States Parties to the Rome Statute that do not adhere to their obligations erodes the effectiveness of the Court and the binding nature of the Council’s own Chapter VII resolutions. (While it has not done so in the case of Bashir’s recent trip to Malawi, the ICC has in the past informed the Council of Bashir’s trips to Kenya, Chad and Djibouti—all parties to the Rome Statute—without a response from the Council.)

Another key issue is the need for the recently appointed members of the Sudan panel of experts to carry out their new responsibilities as effectively as possible. 

A further important issue is how the Council chooses to address the recent alliance formed between several Darfur rebel groups and the SPLM-N, formerly the northern branch of the ruling party in South Sudan. (The ties between rebel groups in different parts of Sudan appear to confirm the sentiment of many Council members that there is a need for a holistic strategy to address the interconnected challenges facing Sudan and South Sudan.)

With respect to the ICC briefing, the Council could take up the wider challenges concerning Darfur in the closed meeting following the Prosecutor’s briefing. Although unlikely, it could also remind all member states of the UN of the binding nature of resolution 1593 whereby it referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC and indicate that the Council will follow-up on any instance of non-compliance.

It could also issue a statement that:

  • expresses concern with the formation of SRF and encourages the rebel groups that constitute the alliance to engage in peaceful dialogue with Khartoum;
  • employs language signalling a more critical posture toward the rebel movements that have not acceded to the DDPD; or
  • reiterates its support for the DDPD.

With respect to the Sanctions Committee briefing, Council members could request an update regarding the activities of the newly constituted panel of experts.

Council Dynamics
Substantive differences exist within the Council regarding the ICC’s work in Darfur, especially between those members that are parties to the Rome Statute and those critical of the Court’s pursuit of Bashir. Upon entering the Council, South Africa publicly noted that it intended to seek an Article 16 deferral of the case against Bashir. 

Several Council members also seem to be focused on the need for the newly constituted panel of experts to fulfil their new responsibilities as effectively as possible.

There also appears to be growing concern among many Council members about the linkages between rebel groups in Darfur and the SPLM-N, and the implications of those ties for the security situation in Sudan.

The UK is the lead country on Darfur.

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UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/2003 (29 July 2011) extended UNAMID’s mandate until 31 July 2012. 
  • S/RES/1982 (17 May 2011) extended the mandate of the Sudan sanctions panel of experts until 19 February 2012.
  • S/RES/1593 (31 March 2005) referred the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
  • S/RES/1591 (29 March 2005) and S/RES/1556 (30 July 2004) imposed sanctions.

Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2011/643 (12 October 2011) was the most recent quarterly report of the Secretary-General on UNAMID.
  • S/2011/252 (15 April 2011) was on implementation of the Darfur Political Process.

Meeting Records

  • S/PV.6638 (25 October 2011) was the Council’s discussion of the Secretary-General’s latest report on UNAMID. 
  • S/PV.6548 (8 June 2011) was the latest briefing by the ICC Prosecutor.


  • SC/10439 (8 November 2011) and SC/10407 (11 October 2011) were press statements condemning fatal attacks on UNAMID peacekeepers. 
  • S/2011/466 (27 July 2011) contained the communiqué of the AU Peace and Security Council on UNAMID’s mandate renewal. 
  • SC/10291 (23 June 2011) was the Council press statement on the Doha Peace Process.

Other Relevant Facts

UNAMID: Joint AU-UN Special Representative for Darfur

Ibrahim Gambari (Nigeria)

UNAMID: Force Commander

Lt. Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba (Rwanda)

UNAMID: Size, Composition, Cost and Duration

Maximum authorised strength: up to 19,555 military personnel, 3,772 police and 19 formed police units (total police 6,432)

Main troop contributors: Nigeria, Rwanda, Egypt, Ethiopia and Senegal

Military strength as of 31 October 2011: 17,723 troops and 239 military observers 

Police Strength as of 31 October 2011: 4,920 police personnel

Annual Budget: $1.69 billion

Duration: 31 July 2007 to present; mandate expires 31 July 2012

Sanctions Committee Chairman

Néstor Osorio (Colombia)

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